update deskMiddle East

UAE-Israel land bridge through Saudi Arabia planned

The "Land Connectivity by Trucks" proposal hopes to kick off even before Jerusalem-Riyadh normalization.

Haifa Port, July 31, 2022. Photo by Shir Torem/Flash90.
Haifa Port, July 31, 2022. Photo by Shir Torem/Flash90.

A proposal to create a land bridge connecting the United Arab Emirates to Israel through Saudi Arabia and Jordan to facilitate the movement of goods is being advanced.

The U.S.-backed “Land Connectivity by Trucks” project would enable trucks to transport cargo between the Gulf of Dubai and Israel’s Haifa Port while significantly cutting costs and time, even before the normalization of relations with Riyadh, Ynet reported.

The land corridor, which would later expand to Bahrain and Oman, is initially intended for cargo. In the future, it would serve passengers, including tourists.

Currently, trucks leaving the UAE reach Haifa Post via the Allenby Bridge from Jordan, but they face bureaucratic procedures, including required driver changes, paperwork and lengthy wait times. Another option for shipping goods is by ship through the Suez Canal and then to European ports, which is also costly.

The current proposal would reduce the time of the journey from several weeks to two or three days, saving up to 20% in shipping costs, according to a study conducted by Israel’s Foreign Ministry and the U.S. government cited in the report.

The Foreign Ministry and the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem declined to comment on the plan on Monday.

The project is the latest tangible result of the 2020 Abraham Accords, which saw Israel make peace with four Arab countries, led by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

The proposal comes amid a separate long-term plan to create a rail link between Israel and the Gulf states through Saudi Arabia that would be part of a train project linking Israel, the Gulf, Europe and points East.

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